Lee’s Summit is working on a package of incentives to keep a local manufacturing company from leaving the city in order to expand.
Billy Goat Industries Inc., at 1803 S.W. Jefferson, needs to consolidate its space and move into a new building to improve efficiency and grow, City Manager Steve Arbo said at a recent City Council meeting.
The company has about 100 employees and builds professional grade mowers and other equipment for turf and property maintenance.
Arbo said company officials are looking at other communities that have incentives available and offered Lee’s Summit an opportunity to make an offer that could match.
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“They’re having to do an assessment in what’s of the best interest of their business, in where they locate,” Arbo said.
He said the company expressed a desire to stay — if the city could offer a deal at least approaching what it would get in a move.
The family-owned business has been in Lee’s Summit more than 40 years, Arbo said. It has two Lee’s Summit sites: its main office and manufacturing building and a warehouse.
The company also owns 30 acres just south of its plant, across a creek, where it wants to build a new plant and add equipment. The current plant is in a series of buildings added over time that aren’t able to work efficiently, President Will Coates said.
The company plans to invest $7.5 million in the new plant and $2.5 million in new equipment. It would increase its square footage from about 100,000 to 150,000 square feet.
Arbo said the city is working on a proposal for a 75 percent property tax abatement for 10 years on the new facility.
Finance Director Conrad Lamb presented the impact of the incentives on the city, school district and other governments. If the city and developer agreed to the incentive package, there would still be a net gain of almost $100,000 in tax revenue paid on the properties, he said.
The company intends to either repurpose or sell the current buildings and property, but in either case, those parcels stay on the tax rolls.
Coates said that along with paying the remaining 25 percent of taxes, the company expects to add five to 10 employees a year for the next five years.
Coates said there are “intangibles” such as quality of life that makes him want to keep the company in Lee’s Summit.
“We’re going to continue to invest.” Coates said. “Everybody wins. This is actually going to be positive for the school district.”
The district gains some revenue, he said, but the new employees wouldn’t bring enough new students to be a burden.
The council members told city staff to continue working on an offer, but it will take future votes to approve the tax breaks.
“I am very, very hesitant to lose a business within the community, especially a business that’s been here a long time,” Councilman David Mosby said.
Others agreed. Councilman Derek Holland said the company’s leaders have been active in supporting the community and many events, not only business.
“You’ve been a great corporate citizen in Lee’s Summit and that’s a premium,” Holland said.